Monday, December 8, 2014

Sexual Assault On College Campuses

     I used to not have a problem with Greek life, I actually at one point considered joining a sorority. Up until recently, my personal issues with Greek life were really just my opinion and not anything major that I thought was actually negatively affecting people on a large scale. There's been a lot of attention brought to the UVA incident that Rolling Stone published in which a girl named Jackie came forward with the account of how she was gang raped at a frat party. It's been found that there are some possible discrepancies with her story and Rolling Stone apologized for not fact-checking or interviewing any of the men accused.

     While I agree that Rolling Stone should've probably looked into the facts more, their apology completely discredited Jackie and the seriousness of what happened to her. Although the details may not be completely true, she still was definitely sexually assaulted and interviewing the rapists in any case is likely to cause them to target or torment the victim for coming forward. Also, it's not likely that anyone who is called for their account of a rape they committed would actually admit to what they did.

     Jackie's roommate told Huffington Post that at the time Jackie says she was sexually assaulted, she was "distraught" and even left school early and rescheduled all of her exams to be taken later, meanwhile it is being completely denied that anybody ever hurt her. While she may not have been completely truthful about who did it, only a small percentage (although it is not positively known exactly what it is) of rape accusations are false. Rape victims are 3 times more likely to be depressed and 6 times more likely to have PTSD so it's impossible to know what kind of damage has been caused by the sexual assault Jackie experienced, whether or not it is the story she's telling. It also doesn't change the fact that sexual assault is a huge problem on college campuses and in Greek life. People seem to be looking for reasons to discredit her story and bring attention away from sexual assault issues.

     This whole story has brought tons of attention to the issue of sexual assault, and rightfully so. At UVA, students who have admitted to sexual assault have only been suspended for a year or two, while anyone who has cheated has been expelled immediately. Of course academic integrity is important, but why is it more important to punish cheating students than it is to punish rapists? So many colleges are sending the message to students that cheating is wrong but sexual assault is just fine.

     The Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee (FSPAC), the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), and the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) released a statement saying that all Greek life at UVA should be reinstated and that the Rolling Stone article and accusations by Jackie have undermined "true victims" from stepping forward, because Jackie is not considered to be a real victim simply because the facts of her case have not been fully discovered yet. Again, more victim blaming is taking place.

     This pretty much just highlights the fact that people tend to just look the other way when it comes to sexual assault accusations and not only at UVA. Even at Syracuse, I personally know girls who have been drugged at frat parties or the houses of sports teams. Friends of mine in sororities have told me that they've been warned by the person who arranges their social events with frats to not take their drinks because they'll probably have drugs in them. Yet again, boys are being excused for drugging and possibly attempting to rape girls while girls are being warned of it and blamed if they accept a drink. How in the hell are we still blaming victims for what happens to them when the guys drugging and raping girls should be the ones blamed for what's happening?

     There are so many instances of fraternities drugging their drinks that are widely known on campus, yet nobody cares to do anything about it. What I don't understand is why people, in sororities or not, are choosing to go to parties at houses where they know the boys are going to attempt to drug and sexually assault them. We shouldn't be continuing to allow them to do this and supporting it by showing up to their houses and acting like what they're doing isn't disgustingly wrong. It makes no sense that people are turning the other cheek and pretending like it's not a big deal. None of these people are being held responsible for anything they do or even being acknowledged for the things they're doing wrong.

     It's so clear that all of this is happening, yet the university won't even acknowledge it and neither will the FSPAC, NPC, or NIC. Everything seems to just be brushed under the rug whether it's drugging drinks, sexual assault, or hazing even though everyone on campus knows it's happening. People are being hurt mentally, sexually, and physically and nobody even cares in the slightest bit. It's really sad to know that the university I love and call my home would probably do nothing to help me if I were ever sexually assaulted. It's hard to feel safe on a campus where some of the frats and sports teams are drugging girls at parties and are not even being looked at for what they're doing. It's unfair that my school won't even protect me or any of its students who could be hurt or assaulted, yet is protecting the ones who are attempting to drug or rape.

     People seem to forget that sex is rape if one party doesn't consent. If a girl is drunk or drugged and has sex, she CANNOT consent. It IS rape. Whether it's attempted or actually happens, it needs to be acknowledged by students, the university, and the police. People need to start being held responsible for their wrongdoings and people need to start caring that the people we associate with and are surrounded by are, in fact, doing things that are wrong.

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